Against the Great Reset: 'China, Covid-19, Realpolitik, and the Great Reset'

Continuing today, and for the next 15 weeks, The Pipeline will present excerpts from each of the essays contained in Against the Great Reset: 18 Theses Contra the New World Order, to be published on October 18 by Bombardier Books and distributed by Simon and Schuster, and available now for pre-order at the links. 

 

PART I: THE PROBLEM

Excerpt from "China, COVID-19, Realpolitik, and the Great Reset," By Douglas Murray

It is a good rule of thumb that one should become skeptical—and perhaps also concerned—whenever everyone in a position of authority starts to say the same thing. Particularly when they also all do so at the same time.

Such a moment arrived in 2020 when nearly every Western statesman, and a few others who might aspire to that role, began to use the phrase “Build Back Better.” Boris Johnson claimed that he might have used it first. Joe Biden seemed to believe that he had. But they were hardly the only people to use it from the early days of the Covid-19 crisis onwards. Almost overnight, it seemed as though absolutely everyone was using the same words. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it down in New Zealand. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used it in Canada. Bill Clinton used it as he was campaigning for Joe Biden. And the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, used it as he was campaigning for himself. Even minor royals could be heard parroting the same alliterative pleasantry. According to Prince Harry, speaking from his self-imposed exile in California, the Covid pandemic “undoubtedly” presents “an opportunity for us to work together and build back better.”

The prince is no stranger to political cliché, as he showed there, managing to pack in two of them into just half a sentence. Yet nor did people far more self-aware than him at any stage seem to realize that the phrase sounded strange in the first place, never mind that they should all also be using it at the same time. A year and a half after the phrase was first being used, President Joe Biden was still struggling to get his Build Back Better bill through the U.S. Senate. The phrase became so ubiquitous that almost no one in a position of power stopped to ask the question that ought surely to have loomed.

Why should a global pandemic be seen as simply an opportunity? In the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus leaking out from Wuhan, China, millions of people around the world died from the effects of contracting that virus. The global economy contracted at an unprecedented rate. Government borrowing soared to rates unknown outside of wartime in order to furlough millions of people who would otherwise have been destitute. Entire economies—including a U.S. economy that was roaring in an election year—were suddenly forced to a halt. None of this looked like a source of optimism. Ordinarily, the mass laying off of the workforce, the racking up of unprecedented peacetime debt, and the ordered shuttering away of the citizenry in their houses would be a source of concern and fury before it was a cause for optimism and opportunity.

But with only a couple of notable exceptions, during the Covid era, Western politicians skipped the rage stage. Indeed, they even skipped over the blame stage. Just as the WHO and other compromised international bodies failed to get to the roots of the source of the virus, so most Western politicians spent zero time or political capital on the question of why the virus had been unleashed on the world in the first place. Instead, they jumped straight to the question of just how much could be achieved by the unprecedented opportunity that the virus had allegedly gifted us.

Within a little over a year, politicians themselves seemed to be laughing at the phrase, even as they could not stop using it. In October 2021, Boris Johnson’s office seemed to imagine that the British public had become so thrilled by the “build back better” tagline that it was time for some riffs on the theme. At this stage, somewhere between lockdowns umpteen and nineteen, Johnson released a number of videos on his social media pages in which the slogan build back better was posted on the screen. Johnson seemed to imagine that the British public was in a playful mood around the theme. The videos included one of him spreading butter on some pieces of toast and looking at the camera and saying “build back butter.” In a second video, with the build back better motif over it, the Prime Minister could be seen unrolling a packet of fish and chips. “Mmm” he says appreciatively, before looking at the camera and saying “Build back batter.” Terms like “pathetic” and “inadequate” would fail to do justice to such political moments.

The obvious comparison to make at this stage is with great plagues in history. And though most were of a degree of seriousness that far outweighs the effects of Covid, it is a sobering consideration. Who, for instance, viewed the so-called “Spanish flu” of a century ago as an opportunity? Who would have dared in the early months or years after that pandemic ravaged the planet to see it as an opportunity to rebuild the global economy in a different way?

There are two things that are most visibly disturbing about the political reaction to all of this. The first is the desire to leapfrog over the most obvious stage in the post-pandemic era. Which should have been a clinical, careful and failsafe analysis of how this novel coronavirus managed to come out of Wuhan. The second disturbing thing is that the leap should have immediately moved on to a restructuring of the global economy and of free societies that seemed already to be sitting there, ready-made.

The extent to which that first stage was leaped over has many reasons. But one of these undoubtedly had much to do with the incumbent in the White House when the “China virus” first came into the world. President Trump was in an election year and was understandably intent on not shuttering the U.S. economy ahead of an election. He was also keen to attribute blame toward the place where he saw the virus originating. Whether the cause of the leak was a Wuhan wet market (as was early on deemed the only permissible explanation) or the Wuhan Institute of Virology (as soon seemed likelier), Trump was keen that China got the blame for releasing the virus into the world. And there was much to be said for this. Even if the leak had been an accident, it was one that the Chinese authorities did nothing to contain, allowing flights out of the region even as the first knowledge of the virus made the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) shutter flights and regions within Chinese borders.

But keen observers will have noticed that Trump was a divisive president and that what he said was the case was strenuously pushed back against by his critics when it was true as well as when it was not. Early in 2020, as Trump continued to talk about the source of the virus, his political opponents decided to claim that identifying China as the source of the virus would lead to an upsurge in anti-Chinese racism. And so Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, for instance, not only deplored the president’s language but also implored Americans to demonstrate their contempt for the president’s “racism” in a practical way. Speaker Pelosi implored people to visit their local Chinatown and show solidarity with Chinese people. In Florence, Italy, the mayor went one better in the global game of grandstanding against Trump. On February 1, 2020, Dario Nardella urged Florentines to “hug a Chinese” person to combat racism. It is not known how many Italians contracted the virus through this demonstration of Sino-fraternalism.

The point is that from the earliest stage of the virus, the opportunity to point fingers appeared to have been queered by the fact that one of the only people in the world pointing fingers was a person who most of the political class around the world were ostentatiously opposed to. Even to speak of lab leaks or Chinese culpability in those days was to sound Trump-like, a fact that played very well indeed into the public relations campaign orchestrated by the CCP.

The effectiveness of that PR campaign was visible from the very start of the virus, and showed the extent to which a swathe of the scientific, media, and political establishments in the West were already literally or figuratively in the pocket of the CCP...

Next week: an excerpt from "Sovereignty and the Nation-State" by Roger Kimball. 

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Protesting

With very little planning and a last-minute text to my parents, I hopped a flight from London City Airport to Washington D.C. The reason, of course…to save the planet! With no lounges open, and the risk of delayed takeoff, I thought I should at least grab a bottle of water, and so I did. Hello Boots… one Volvic please!  Only to be reminded that London had launched  something they are calling ‘Plastic Free City’.

They sold me the water alright, but it came with stares from all the really good people—each one of them making silent commentary, and staring at the offending bottle. You’d have thought I’d been going round the globe shoving plastic straws into the brains of dolphins.

Meanwhile, they kept flaunting their refillables like they were iced-out Rolexes. Oh knock it off! I wanted to scream. My entire life is dedicated to green pursuits but when it comes to placing the mouth of a bottle that I’m going to drink from, under the spigot of the community trough—I draw the line. Besides I can’t very well save the planet if I am sick.

Every litter bit helps!

The terminal was lined with bright blue water stations, and I walked to my gate with the gurgle-gurgle of people refilling all around me.  Luckily I had only thirty minutes before boarding and so I stuffed the contraband into my bag before choosing a spot in which to loiter. The airport was mobbed and every announcement was getting on my last nerve. Just then a text from my client…

‘Can we fix this?’ Followed by a picture of the detritus from the Glastonbury Climate Festival. It was disgusting—trash and abandoned tents everywhere. It looked worse than a San Francisco public park. 

‘What is it you WANT me to do?’ I texted back.  And before he could respond I texted: ‘Headed to DC…boarding now’.

I could see he was trying to text me something else but I powered down my phone before it came through. Having found my seat I tore off the plastic wrap from my quilt and put my headphones on. I placed the wrap within easy reach of the flight attendant but despite several passes she didn’t pick it up. Why is the whole world plastic-shaming me today?

When we arrived in D.C. our gate wasn’t ready and we had to be towed in. Another delay! I know that towing vs taxiing saves quite a bit of fuel but this delay defeats the purpose of flying from City Airport!

As soon as I powered on my phone the texts started rolling in. Apparently, if you sign up for even one protest they assume it’s your lifeblood and include you in every update. I only wanted the EPA protest. What a mess.

That's telling 'em!

My driver did his best to get me right where I needed to be but it was hopeless. Pride marches, GenX, and half a dozen abortion marches. Finally, I headed toward a group in green bandanas knowing this would be my group, but it was not. This was made readily clear by a “Viva la Vulva” sign. I stepped out of the throng and asked a woman why green for pro-abortion?

‘Marta tells us that the colour of nature was chosen because it signifies life’, she said.

Abortion means  life? I dared not ask. And who was Marta? Turns out Marta is the founder of Catholics for Choice, 'a nonprofit organization that lifts up the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom'. I squinted my eyes and walked away.  So far I had accomplished exactly nothing.

Then my phone rang. It was my father.  ‘OH HEY!’ I said, yelling into my iPhone.

‘Are you at a club?’ he asked.  

‘You bloody well know I am not at a club!’ I responded. I am in Washington, protesting the EPA ruling!'  

‘Well how’s that going?’ he asked.

‘I haven’t found them yet… this is all rather confusing. But I do have a question, I got a text about the Glastonbury Climate Festival… I see electric- car chargers in the middle of… nowhere. So how do they get powered?’ 

Diesel’, Daddy replied.  

Glastonbury '22: nobody tell Greta!

Diesel??’ I shrieked. ‘How does…?’ UGH! I knew he was stifling a laugh. 

‘Yes, as you said, all very confusing. Listen, sweetheart, do you really think protesting is a good use of your time…?'

‘How would I know?  ‘I haven’t even been able to even locate my protest'.’

‘Strange that, Marxists are generally so good at organisation’.

I didn’t have the strength to fight him. It was beginning to rain and I decided to keep quiet in case he had one more zinger in him.  FINALLY I could see my EPA group and I ran to catch up with them, only to ask myself why had I bothered? I was sweating under my trench, my shoes were soaked, we all looked stupid, I felt stupid—this was stupid.

‘You win, Daddy', I said into the phone. 'This was a dumb idea. I will schedule some meetings and ask my clients how I can be useful while I’m here’. 

‘Excellent', he said. 'And you might advocate for the continued operation of Line 5 up in Michigan —it's an essential  pipeline for Eastern Canada and the U.S.’ 

‘And they will listen to me because—why?’ I asked. 

‘Because you’re the voice of reason on this. It’s a win for everyone.  And you’re still advocating for the environment - just without the Marxist slant’.

‘And if it doesn’t work?’

‘Oh, just tell them they’re all going to freeze—they don’t even have enough energy to get through next year…’

‘I don’t think they want to hear that’. 

‘Oh I disagree, Jennifer. Fear-mongering is the only thing you green-niks understand'.

I hung up and looked around. The rain was pelting harder. Everybody looked miserable. And they wonder why I never bring anyone home!

Property Rights? Not in Canada

A few years back, my wife and I were staying at a family-run country inn for a couple of weeks of R&R in the Thousand Islands, a magnet for summer visitors from around the world. Sitting on our balcony, we observed a group of Chinese tourists filing out of a tour bus, several of whom, carrying packed lunches, negotiated the rock perimeter that separated the establishment from the road, strolled across the carefully tended lawn, entered our landlady’s garden gazebo, and made themselves at home.

They proceeded to spread their lunches across the table and fell to amidst convivial chatter, oblivious to the fact that they were on clearly marked private property. Somewhat taken aback, it slowly dawned on us that they had no sense of private property, no awareness that such a concept even existed—the collectivist mindset in a nutshell, or in a gazebo. The inn’s grounds and gardens were, apparently, held in common by the people, to be enjoyed at no expense of personal investment and maintenance.

All your stuff belongs to us.

Ownership of property, as John Locke famously argued in The Second Treatise of Government, which establishes the legitimacy of “original appropriation” and rightful exclusion, is the keystone of the democratic state and the very foundation of personal liberty. Our visitors were plainly strangers to the idea, having been educated and domesticated in a totalitarian nation. What is one to make, then, of a high-placed public official in a liberal democracy who plainly shares an equivalent sensibility?

Responding to questions concerning Bill C-19, currently in its second reading before the Senate, Canada’s Justice Minister David Lametti recently claimed that “You don’t have an absolute right to own private property in Canada.” Among a series of other repressive measures, such as new luxury taxes and Climate Action Incentive payments, the bill would allow the government “to seize and cause the forfeiture and disposal of assets held by sanctioned people and entities, to support Canada’s participation in the Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs Task force in light of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”

The problem is not only that the bill may be in violation of international law. The problem is that the bill can be readily weaponized by the government at any time against its own citizens, thereby stealing their property via a form of nationally-implemented eminent domain, exercised arbitrarily over every facet of citizens’ lives. We can’t say we weren’t warned. In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out that, without safeguards and a sense of “civic virtue,” democracies were prone to elevate tyrannical rulers intent on “penetrating into private life.”

Democracy in Canada is no different. Knowing the authoritarian proclivities of the Tyrant on the Hill, as prime minister Justin Trudeau is colloquially called, it’s a safe bet that the concept of a private self, and of the belief in personal property which anchors it, are not especially cherished by our Dear Leader, except insofar as it applies to him. Trudeau is more than capable of initiating Canada’s “illegal invasion” of his own country. His justice minister has merely expressed the prime minister’s deepest sentiments and controlling agenda.

Told ya.

Such perfectly demagogic statements uttered by the justice minister also perfectly encapsulate the state of affairs in what can no longer be considered a democratic nation. We may “have no absolute right to own private property,” which can be expropriated whenever the government desires, but the outright theft and suppression of citizens’ rights do not stop there. 

As Canada’s draconian Covid legislation and coercive vaccination policies ensured, we have no absolute right over our own bodies, a most intimate form of private property—Naomi Wolf’s The Bodies of Others is a must-read in this respect, especially as it pertains to Canada. We also have no absolute right over our own opinions, which can be whimsically banned under Bill C-36 that would legislate against “hate speech,” as conveniently defined by the authorities. We have no absolute right to our bank accounts and financial assets, once regarded as an inalienable form of private property, which can be illegally frozen at the government’s discretion, as occurred in the aftermath of the Truckers Convoy. We have no absolute right to our Charter freedoms, which, as we have learned to our cost, can be ignored or suspended at will. 

Parliament itself has become something of a joke, acting as a pedigreed club in which substantive issues affecting the lives and livelihoods of citizens will not be seriously discussed. It appears that we have no absolute right through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to examine dodgy and controversial government documents and orders leveraged against citizens, which are increasingly sequestered under the chevron of confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege. Senator Claude Carignan unavailingly chided the evasive and supercilious deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland in special committee treating of the Emergencies Act, frivolously invoked to suppress the Truckers’ anti-vaccine protest: “We need information and documents, not a figure skating show.”

As Rex Murphy pungently quipped in a National Post column, “Granted the committee investigating the use of the Emergencies Act is only about piddling, trivial matters: Civil Liberties. Bank Accounts frozen. Arson alleged. Property seized. Police jamming the streets. Jail without bail.” The parliamentary exchange, he continues, “is proof of how far [our leaders] have drifted from the feelings and understandings of ordinary people”—though I would add it is also evidence of how far our leaders have strayed from the basic presuppositions and principles that ground the existence of a parliamentary democracy. We have no “absolute right” to expect fairness, honor or constitutional responsibility from our elected representatives.

Freeland: all your stuff belongs to us, eh?

One recalls the catchphrase adopted in essence by Claus Schwab’s World Economic Forum (WEF) planning the New World Order, envisioned as the Great Reset: “You will own nothing and you will be happy.” The first part of the statement is true, the second part not so much. More to the point, the oligarchs, technocrats, plutocrats and directors of the administrative state promoting the Great Reset will own everything and they will be exceedingly happy. We know that Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland are graduates of Schwab’s Young Leaders training programs, and are fully on board with the WEF’s globalist project to remake the world in the interests of a powerful and unaccountable elite. Our absolute rights are now the government’s absolute prerogatives.

It is as if we are watching Justin Trudeau, his cabinet and his caucus strolling across our property, entering our gazebo, and spreading their lunch across the table. The irony is that we, who once assumed that we were guaranteed property rights to our dwellings, our bodies, our opinions, our bank accounts, our need for information, and our Charter and Constitutional provisions—now watch helplessly as the political tourists who roam in and out of public office in this country are now the de facto proprietors of our legal and legitimate possessions. The experiment in confiscatory policy is occurring before our eyes as our very lives are inexorably subject to official annexation. It appears that David Lametti was correct. Indeed, we have no absolute right to anything and Canada has become the world’s shining example of the greatest act of larceny in the history of the democratic state.

Canada's Freedom Convoy Still Paying Dividends

Some good news out of Canada -- the Trudeau government has announced that it will "suspend" vaccine mandates and testing requirements for domestic and outbound international travel. Mandates will also be suspended for unvaccinated federal workers, all of whom have been stuck on unpaid leave.

Canada, of course, has lagged behind the rest of the Western world on relaxing Covid-19 related mandates, and even these changes are comparatively slight -- unvaccinated Canadians will still be required to isolate for 14 days after returning home, even if asymptomatic, and the word "suspend" suggests an intention to reimpose the mandates when there is a case spike in the Fall. Still, in the Trudeau era, frustrated Canadians will take what they can get.

But why now? After all, Trudeau just struck a deal with the N.D.P. to protect him from facing the electorate until at least 2025. And in the run-up to the suspension, as Tristin Hopper pointed out, "the Trudeau government was mounting an all-out campaign to convince Canadians [that the restrictions] were a critical necessity, and that to claim otherwise was reckless or anti-science." So what gives? Ezra Levant has laid out a theory on Twitter, which you should read in full.

"And then some big bad men scared Daddy..."

Levant goes on to discuss the recent viral video of hockey-player-turned-journalist Ryan Whitney complaining about the madness of Toronto Pearson International airport in the Covid-era, the "worst airport on earth." Notes Levant: "Like all insecure Canadians, Trudeau cares more about what foreigners think than what we think. Especially someone cool like a former pro hockey player, now a viral journalist." And then there's the fact that prime minister has violated his own Covid policies on numerous occasions, including just this week.

But above all, it was the truckers who demonstrated to sane Canadians that they weren't the only ones who opposed the lockdowns and proved to the government that there actually was a breaking point.

God bless those guys.

Somewhere Near Davos, Hanging from a Cleft

The direction of the future can never be predicted or plotted with certainty; as the saying goes, man plans and God laughs. The turmoil that characterizes political affairs at the present time is a practical illustration of this proverbial truth. The array of contending variables on the contemporary national stage seems a veritable rat’s nest of identity crises and transition paradigms: civil disintegration, conservative revivalism, populist uprisings, autocratic leadership, and Globalist systematization. Which of these factors will prevail is an open question—a question which can be reformulated in terms of the distinction, lately widely discussed, between core countries and cleft countries.

A core country enjoys a stable central government, strong institutions, and a reasonable sense of unity, bound by ties of custom, economy, and heritage that allow for relative cultural harmony and political accord. One thinks of Japan. A cleft country, by contrast, is defined as a nation with cultural groupings sufficiently large and separate from one another in origin, faith, language and/or political convictions as to create profound or insoluble tensions. One thinks of worst-case scenarios like India or Yugoslavia splitting into territorial belligerents, or currently of Ukraine. Ivan Katchanovski’s Cleft Countries, written mainly for regional specialists, treats of the concept with specific reference to Ukraine and Moldova.

Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order deals with the subject on a larger, if controversial scale. According to Huntington, cultural tensions inevitably arise in “cleft countries… when a majority group belonging to one civilization attempts to define the state as its political instrument and to make its language, religion, and symbols those of the state.” The Clash of Civilizations proposed that a new kind of conflict, one centred on cultural identity, would become the focal point in the field of international relations. At the same time, cultural disparities and politically charged loyalties can and have become the focus of high-stress domestic relations as well.

The center cannot hold.

The phenomenon is treated from a somewhat different scholarly perspective in Immanuel Wallerstein’s compendious World-Systems Analysis. (See also his premonitory 2003 The Decline of American Power.) Writing from a Leftist orientation, Wallerstein provides a detailed if somewhat clotted overview of the complex mechanics of what is now called "globalization" spread across diverse fields of knowledge and practice, including professional disciplines, economic arrangements, “race, sexuality, geopolitical structures and relatively open frontiers.”

Referring to the “spirit of Davos,” Wallerstein maps and effectively endorses the globalist-inspired replacement of the nation-state in a vast, interlocking system encompassing a new kind of social and political reality. But his account of the fraught maneuverings in the international realm as it “reconfigures the world economy”—or, in the words of a WEF panelist, “recalibrates” the structures of governance, trade, finance and permitted discourse—may also be applied to the intrinsic sphere of the nation-state. As Wallerstein writes, “The moral constraints traditionally enforced both by states and by religious institutions are finding their efficacity considerably diminished.”

The concept of the “state-nation,” as opposed to the “nation-state,” has also gained some traction of late. In Crafting State Nations, Alfred Stepan et al. isolate a class of political entities characterized by “geographically concentrated ethnocommunal differences.” The attempt to weld these diverse identities into a single national unit or structure leads ultimately to internal political conflict. State-nations are volatile and subject to dissolution, in part like Huntington’s cleft countries and Wallerstein’s frail nation-states whirled asunder by the centrifugal forces of globalization. Admittedly, the difference between these state entities may appear to be more a question of terminology than of substance, although the issue here entails the forcible amalgamation of unassimilable groups and sectors. State nations are historical tinderboxes.

The situation is complicated by the rise of populist movements, such as the trucker convoys in Canada, the U.S. and other countries, which oppose both the surge of sectarian divisions and civil decay within the state as well as the drift toward globalist consolidation under the rubrics of the W.H.O., the U.N.’s Agenda 2030 and the Great Reset. Such patriot movements are intent on the restoration of cultural unity and national coherence rooted in scripture, common law, the constitutional tradition, the family and local government. The effort to build Galt-like parallel societies and “earthship” communities appeals to a growing number of people with pastoral sympathies, but remains a fringe development. Parallel digital networks and crypto currencies may contribute to the strengthening or rehabilitation of conservative traditions and institutions. At the end of the day, populist movements of a national stripe represent the only significant alternative to the breakup of civil society and the offloading of national responsibility to international organizations and agencies.

Hang on, little Eva.

This argument is brilliantly expounded by Yoram Hazony in Conservatism: A Rediscovery, which defends “economic liberties and other kinds of individual rights and freedoms,” in short, “the traditional pillars and cornerstones of Anglo-American civilization.” Hazony is aware of Huntington’s thesis—who isn’t?—and understands the fissiparous threat of violent disintegration posed by cleft countries, which can only be countered, he believes, by a “freedom-loving religious nationalism.” He would vigorously protest the dissipation of the nation state à la Wallerstein to non-local centers of power. “Reassigning the powers of government to international bodies,” he sagely asserts, “inevitably tend[s] toward arbitrariness and autocracy” rather than “protect[ing] the particularity of the nation and its traditions.”

In the light of these considerations, I am particularly concerned with developments in my own country, which, to quote Michael Walsh, “is now completing its post-Covid descent into a fascist tyranny.” Canada is no longer the proximately coherent nation it once was, despite its origin in two founding peoples and occasional secessionist rancor. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have been correct when he claimed that Canada has “no core identity,” that it is a “post-national state” (to which he is accessory), which is to say that it is no longer even recognizably intelligible as an integral country, ruined by failed leadership like Trudeau’s own, digital surveillance of citizens, cowcatcher immigration policies, class divisions, ruinous economic policies, tensions between eastern and western provinces, and competing cultural, tribal and political internal groups. It has become a textbook cleft country, provoked and embittered by the sidelining of the Constitution and a derecho of draconian measures, such as vaccine mandates, travel restrictions, information censorship, punitive carbon taxes and the like.

The U.S. has also devolved into a cleft country marked by an open border, millions of illegal refugees, ethnic voting blocs, artificially stoked racial hostilities, irregular elections, media censorship, administrative incompetence, political dystrophy, and domestic terrorists setting cities aflame. The Financial Times foresees the possibility of civil war. National tensions are at their highest level since the 1860s. The country’s motto might as well be E Pluribus, Multi Plures.

Obviously, with only few exceptions major nations with large populations are almost inevitably to some extent cleft, divided by hierarchical levels of political and economic structures. The danger is that social and cultural fissures—“fault lines” in Huntington’s terms—are always in danger of widening. When the “core,” the common set of beliefs and customs, begins to dissolve, the constituent groups that make up the nation’s census, regardless of power differentials, then become not partners in a common project but antagonists in a culture war no one can win—except, perhaps, the cleftocrats.

Hurtling toward the abyss?

As former Canadian provincial premier Brian Peckford said in a speech delivered on the steps of the British Columbia Legislature, “A system that sees our society being run by the four horsemen—big government, big press, big pharma and big tech,” will inexorably destabilize the cohesive nation-state and render the individual vulnerable to a cabal of international unelected bureaucrats and conscienceless power-brokers. The concept of individual autonomy in functioning democracies is plainly under siege. “Unless we take matters in our own hands and move forward with new paradigms,” he avers, and pursue the struggle against “the brutal reality of a failed existing system,” it will be game, set, match. Peckford is right, of course, but so is Huntington. 

“The nations of the West are hurtling toward the abyss,” Hazony warns. Democratic institutions are increasingly at risk and the bonds of social unity in nation after nation are fraying. The dilemma for many of us is that we are living in uncharted territory without a compass to provide direction. Here be dragons. A great decoupling of the historical tenses seems underway as past, present and future have begun to feel disconnected and temporally unrelated, unamenable to reflective extrapolation for guidance and understanding. History does not always repeat itself. As founder and president of the Brownstone Institute Jeffrey Tucker writes of our cultural moment, “it is hard to find historical examples.” Something unprecedented seems to be emerging.

The fact is, we are living in a cleft world. May God help us.

Canada: the World’s Most Comfortable Gulag

In an editorial for the Epoch Times, Patricia Adams and Lawrence Solomon describe Canada as the world’s largest prison and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “the world’s foremost jailer.” In a country of 38 million, they write, reprising a Justice Centre bulletin, 6 million unvaccinated citizens are forbidden to travel by train, ship or plane and are effectively prevented from leaving the country, which is to say that a cohort of over 15 percent are prisoners in their own land.

The 2022 Federal Budget approves funding for three more years of continuing vaccine mandates for travel: “All travelers now departing from Canadian airports, on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, or on cruise ships (or non-essential passenger vessels on voyages of 24 hours or more) must be fully vaccinated, with very limited exceptions.” The unvaccinated, as they say, can take a hike. But the Trudeau government will not stop with the de facto incarceration of its dissident citizens. The docket of authoritarian acts grows longer by the day.

The government has recently passed Bill C-4, amending the Criminal Code in order to target what is pejoratively and misguidedly called “conversion therapy,” that is, the right of parents to act on behalf of their children’s wellbeing by counselling against gender modification and chemical transgender treatments. The government has contended that conversion therapy reflects “myths and stereotypes about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2) communities” and that practices that “reinforce heteronormative and cis-normative ideas… [are] harmful.”

La torture par l'espérance.

This bizarre document is framed in such a way as to give the impression that LGBTQ2 orientation is actually the default sexual status. Protecting one’s children’s biological sexual identity is now a criminal offense, leading to children being removed from the home and becoming wards of the state, an act of totalitarian state terror. Naturally, couples without children are spared the trauma; many appear to be indifferent or are even unaware of such an atrocity.

The federal government is pondering legislation, such as Bills  C-11 and C-18, also known as the Online Streaming Act, analogous to the U.S. government’s just created Disinformation Governance Board, which will increase regulation of the Internet to combat what the government conveniently calls “disinformation.” People will no longer be free to express their personal convictions online without fear of cancellation or even worse.

The next step is the newly formed Canada Financial Crimes Agency (CFCA), clearly intended to block popular crowdfunding sources such as those upon which the Truckers Freedom Convoy relied. Legitimate protests will be starved of financial support. Individuals who donate to such movements will also be exposed to financial penalties.

Furthermore, not content with having bought off the Canadian print media with lavish multi-million-dollar “gifts,” Justin Trudeau has established a so-called Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization (QCJO) which renders certain unfavored news outlets like Rebel News ineligible for tax credits and other programs. According to the assessment of the Canadian Revenue Agency, (CRA) “Rebel News does not produce original news content, on the basis that the content was found to be largely opinion-based and focused on the promotion of one particular perspective.” For such federal agencies, truthful reporting by independent sources unbeholden to government subsidies, a rarity in this country, can only be partisan opinion to be suppressed or rendered difficult to locate.

The Trudeau government is now considering implementing a digital ID program, paired with a digital currency, in which all our financial, health, social media and other accreditation records, such as social insurance number, drivers license, vaccine status, etc., will be stored in one area, an apparatus promoted by Great Reset protocols and resembling China’s “Social Credit” and Central Bank Digital Currency systems where citizens’ every action can be tightly monitored and controlled.

These communication technologies and currency manipulations are tantamount to human rights violation machines. Using the FINTRAC system, originally meant to survey money laundering and terrorist financing operations, the government can shut down bank accounts without court warrants and suspend credit cards and other financial assets at will. The resemblance to the National Socialists' Enabling Act of March 23, 1933, especially Article 2 which specified that “laws enacted by the Government may deviate from the Constitution,” is quite distressing. In the present context, mutatis mutandis, the April 26, 1938 Decree for the Reporting of Jewish-Owned Property, effectively freezing the assets of Jews at a certain prescribed limit, is no less disturbing.

That is only the beginning. As political commentator Diana Sitek writes, “We are becoming monetized data,” an apt phrase. One’s “digital wallet” can be pilfered at any time by the government, a form of digital mugging. “Creating digital IDs and digital currency,” warns The Trumpet, “is all about government control.” The political authority would know everything there is to know about us, track our movements and activities, and intervene at any time to “shut us down.” These are the kinds of measures adopted by a police state. The right to hold “unacceptable views,” the freedom to dissent from the government line and its authoritarian agenda, and the ability to lead our lives as we see fit, are being efficiently suffocated.

Admittedly, at present, we are experiencing what seems to be the lull before the storm. Many of the coercive Covid mandates, for example, have been relaxed. We enjoy a degree of municipal freedom. My wife and I can now shop unmasked and patronize restaurants for the first time in the better part of a year. We no longer need a QR code to visit the planetarium, scope out the museums and theaters, take in a movie or a symphony, attend a wine tasting, or enjoy the paintings of my favorite Canadian painter Jack Shadbolt at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, which I had been unable to visit though it is only a half hour’s drive away.

Within the confines of our cage, we are now reasonably comfortable. But as former CF-18 fighter pilot and Aviation Project Engineer Major Russ Cooper, president and CEO of the C3RF non-profit, points out, “The mere cancelling of pandemic measures on the heels of their seasonal recession is just not good enough. What good would it do if all of the same factors were allowed to combine in a future emergency so that Canadians, once again, were forced into a ‘Gulag’?”

He is right, of course. Under the demagogic rule of Justin Trudeau, there is every likelihood that our assets will be frozen, a sixth, seventh or eighth politically manufactured "viral wave" will force us to mask up again or remain indoors, articles such as this one will be inaccessible as constituting “hate speech” or, according to the aforementioned proposed Parliamentary bills and more to come, causing “online harms,” and the vaccine passports, as noted, will be reintroduced and extended for travel. A redoubtable fighter for civil rights, former Newfoundland and Labrador premier and the last living signatory to the 1982 Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms the Honourable Brian Peckford is currently mounting a Federal Court challenge to the ban, but I fear, despite his qualified confidence, that the outcome remains problematic.

Solzhenitsyn tried to warn us.

Canada is in the global forefront of these malignant initiatives. Justin Trudeau, as some believe, may be a nasty piece of work but he is not, in himself, to be condemned solely. He is the people’s doppelgänger, a projection of the vaxxed majority who believe in the validity of his despotic measures and proclamations, who care nothing for the Constitution, are content to have their rights and liberties gradually erased, have no objection to becoming digitized, and have learned to hate as virulently as does the prime minister. “Populace duped, politicians deranged,” summarizes Peter Smith in The Pipeline.

Put another way, Trudeau is a “social construct,” invented by the electorate. The moment the public sees through the façade of counterfeit charm and smarmy concern for “the Canadian people,” Trudeau would vanish in a puff of Woke. Regrettably, none of this is likely to happen. We have nothing like the American 2022 midterms to mitigate the advent of despotism. We are stuck with Trudeau and the Liberal/NDP coalition deal until 2025 and perhaps longer, by which time Canada will have ceased to exist as a liberal democracy. As Milan Kundera presciently wrote of the totalitarian dream in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, once it “starts to turn into reality, however, here and there people begin to crop up who stand in its way, and so the rulers of paradise must build a little gulag on the side of Eden. In the course of time this gulag grows ever bigger and more perfect.”

Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau famously said that the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation. Neither does the state, as Peter Menzies writes, have any business in the newsrooms of the nation. No less true is that the state has no place in the bank accounts and private affairs of its citizens, a lesson the son has failed to assimilate. The major lesson the Son of Pierre has no intention of learning is that a tyrannical regime has no place in the life of a democratic nation. But this is what we have come to expect. Barring an unforeseen change of course, a dark future is fast foreclosing. Sauve qui peut.

Of Carbon, Carbs, Keto, and Canada

Canada was once a hale and hearty country, or at least, it was not in excessively terrible shape, until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided it was packing too much weight, foundering on a surfeit of carbs. The only solution was to put the country on a high-rez, environmental keto diet. The keto diet, we recall, restricts carbs to 50 grams or fewer per day to promote a state of nutritional ketosis. The body will burn fat instead of carbs, thus producing energy, muscle tone and overall natural fitness. Of course, industrial keto has nothing to do with healthful outcomes—quite the reverse—but the analogy holds.

In terms of radical enviro-thinking, the nation will eliminate or reduce its reliance on carbon and will burn solar and wind to produce energy to power our homes and industries. The nation will then grow stronger, healthier and more productive, and the economy of the body politic will correspondingly improve. The problem with this hypothesis is that environmental ketogenesis has got it wrong way round. It is both ideologically dangerous and environmentally unsound. 

For one thing, environmentally speaking, carbs are good. In his various books, The Skeptical Environmentalist, Cool It and False Alarm, Green skeptic and president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center Bjorn Lomborg contends that global paroxysms over the heating of the atmosphere are utterly misplaced. The planet is not facing a climate cataclysm. As Lomborg writes, “more CO in the atmosphere has acted as a fertilizer and created a profound global greening of the planet.”

Good old carbon.

Similarly, in Heaven and Earth, geologist and University of Melbourne Earth Sciences professor Ian Plimer points out that CO₂ is a vital chemical compound that every plant requires to live and grow and to synthesize into life-giving oxygen. The vendetta against carbon can lead to no good.

Robert Zubrin’s Merchants of Despair and Michael Shellenberger’s authoritative Apocalypse Never effectively lay out the case for environmental CO2 as a crop multiplier and a benefactor of life and prosperity—a counterintuitive fact not understood by the myopic catastrophism of the global warming crowd. “Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels,” writes astrophysicist S. Fred Singer in his blockbuster Hot Talk, Cold Science, “becomes a natural resource for humanity rather than an imagined menace to global climate.” Singer’s examination of the relevant facts is convincing.

Carbon capture, carbon offsets and renewable energy subsidies amount to a fool’s errand. An environmentally-unfriendly, landscape-defiling, uglifying architecture of wind turbines and solar panels is not only largely unworkable and egregiously costly but actually futile. Neither the economy nor the backup electrical grid can sustain them for any length of time. The uncomfortable truth is that wind is capricious and sun prefers the tropics; air and light are non-dispatchable energy sources. The power-intermittency problem is crucial and baseload battery storage to solve the deficits is inordinately complicated, obscenely expensive and far from currently feasible. The aeolian fantasy persists.

These are facts that cannot be “fact-checked” or IPCC’d out of the physical record. Moreover, as Lomborg shows in The Skeptical Environmentalist, there is no dependable method of modeling an open system such as the earth, and there is no climate modeling system that can yield accurate predictions. The data insistently driving industrial keto are highly questionable. The advantages of carbs to the environment are not.

For another thing, the reduction in the percentage of atmospheric carbs owing to “Green technology,” carbon capture and punitive carbon taxes is infinitesimal. One of the few Canadian dailies that appears to have retained a measure of editorial independence, the Regina Leader-Post, reports that Canada’s new climate plan banking on carbon capture is a pipe dream. The newspaper quotes Julia Levin, senior program manager at Environmental Defence and author of the Buyer Beware: Fossil Fuels Subsidies and Carbon Capture Fairy Tales in Canada Report, who dismisses Canada’s climate strategy as “not at all realistic.”

The Leader-Post continues: “Carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) projects only capture 0.05 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the new report, published March 31 by Environmental Defence.” Given exorbitant technology costs and the meagre emissions reductions they yield, the scheme is an administrative delusion. The global record is even worse, amounting to only 0.001 per cent of total emissions. To add injury to injury, in some cases carbon capture systems emit more carbon than they capture.

Lots of CO2 in this atmosphere.

As for carbon taxes, they do far more harm than good, being essentially a form of virtue signaling lavishly emitted by the Canadian prime minister. Their effect is to diminish productivity, raise prices, reduce disposable revenue and elevate the poverty index, all in order to materially change consumption behavior to medieval levels of scarcity. Carbon taxes have increased every year since 2019, when the tax was introduced at $20 per tonne of emissions, and will continue to rise annually up to $170 per tonne in 2030. Added to the rising cost of transportation, housing and food due to inflation, they represent a net loss for most households. Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux is very clear about the harmful effects of the tax: “When including the economic impacts as well, most are worse off.” 

Carbon pricing especially hurts farmers deep in the pocketbook owing to the mounting expense of propane, fertilizer and transport. The fact is that Canada cannot feed itself without sufficient and high-capacity agriculture and a solvent farming community to harvest its product and move it to market, any more than it can heat its homes and keep a G20 nation running without fossil fuels.

It has been sensibly argued that a northern country like Canada subject to long and harsh winters is uninhabitable without ample and secure supplies of coal, oil and natural gas. As Energy Policy Analyst David Yager states in From Miracle to Menace, to believe otherwise “is against the reality of what is required to live in this large, cold and dark country for much of the year.” The trouble is, Yager says, that we Canadians are living in “a parallel universe where the basic laws of physics, common sense, reality and even basic honesty no longer apply... Canada’s self-appointed climate leadership role,” he concludes, “is a failure.” There can be no doubt that a viable economy is reliant on plentiful and readily exploitable energy and agricultural resources, development and experiment, for both domestic and export purposes, which we are now sacrificing to climate folly. 

Indeed, the controversy around fossil fuels is merely academic. Belatedly realistic countries, despite their infatuation with renewables, will tap out of this particular bout against carbon. They may begin to look unfavorably on ESG investment of private pension funds in underperforming alternative fuels concerns. Conventional forms of energy, abetted by nuclear power plants, must necessarily be with us for the foreseeable future. There is no way around this reality unless we are willing to crash our economies and opt for endemic shortages of everyday essentials and a dramatically diminished lifestyle with little prospect of recovery. Interestingly, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted in its 2022 Annual Energy Outlook that hydrocarbons “will increase through 2050 as a result of population and economic growth.”

A virtue-signaling luxury Canada can no longer afford.

Canada, however, remains oblivious to such findings as it continues to believe in and advocate for renewables, which is merely whistling past the oilpatch. Should we improbably win the war against carbon, we will then have lost everything. Canada sees itself as the bellwether in an ostensibly noble fight that, in reality, garners nothing but parliamentary plaudits and massive corporate profit. As Rupert Darwall reveals in his must-read Green Tyranny, it is not Big Oil that is the villain of the piece; it is Big Green. Everyone else will suffer. The writing is on the factory gate. Energy costs, stemming from both foreign sanctions and a modicum of domestic production, are sending retail prices through the roof.

Any way one looks at it, the climatological keto diet is a prohibitive farce. Taking carbon out of the planetary ecology is a very bad idea to begin with. If the project is ever carried out to putative net-zero, the dieter will sicken and find himself on intimate terms with sparsity. As Ian Plimer argues with abundant evidence in his recent Green Murder, “It has never been shown that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming”—which, as noted, is by no means a catastrophe but a benefit. We should take heed. Carbon deficiency means less fecundity, less productivity and less prosperity. It will likely mean famine in many parts of the world. 

Canada had better wake up asap. As a country facing critical reductions all across the board—energy extraction, investment, jobs, household income, farming, manufacturing, GDP to debt ratio—we don’t need our clamorous Green saviors, Woke investors, faux-ethical functionaries, and ideological champions. They are completely dispensable. But we do need our carbs, which are not.

April Fools, Redux

Two years ago, we at The Pipeline reported on Justin Trudeau's bizarre decision to go ahead with a planned doubling of Canada's Federal Carbon Tax -- on April Fool's Day, no less -- despite the fact that the entire world was in the midst of a rapid economic downturn brought about by government imposed lockdowns intended to slow the spread of the then-extremely novel Wuhan coronavirus. Trudeau's defense of this move was more ludicrous than the decision itself. He said,

We know that it is important that we put more money in the pockets of Canadians at this point when they’re stressed. Our plan on pricing pollution puts more money upfront into people’s pockets than they would pay with the new price on pollution. We’re going to continue to focus on putting more money in people’s pockets to support them right across the country.

That is to say, Trudeau held that Canadians would be better off having their carbon emissions taxed -- "price on pollution" was at the time a newly developed p.r. consultant phrase whose object was to convince Canadians that the tax would be paid by Captain Planet villains rather than themselves -- because they would actually be getting more money back on the tax rebate than they'd paid in the first place.

There's a sucker born every minute.

This deal sounded too good to be true at the time, and it turns out it was: just last week, Yves Giroux of the Parliamentary Budget Office issued a report which found that "most households in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario will see a 'net loss' resulting from federal carbon pricing." The National Post reports,

As the carbon pricing increases, lower income households should continue to receive rebates, but middle-class and upper-class households should be expecting to pay hundreds, if not thousands [of dollars per year] according to the P.B.O., depending on their carbon consumption. In Alberta, the PBO expects that lowest-income households could expect to receive up to $246 back in their pockets this year, but highest-income households can expect to pay up to $1,925. In the end, Albertans will end up paying $507 per household on average. In 2030, the PBO calculated that these same households in Alberta could be receiving $660 or paying up to $7,402. The net loss on average would be $2,282 per household.... In Ontario, this year, lowest-income households could get back $150 this year and the highest-income households would be paying $1,137. In 2030, lowest-income households could get back $460 and those with a higher income could pay up to $4,866 for carbon.

These numbers are shocking, even to those of us who said at the time that the Liberals' math didn't add up.

Nevertheless, and despite the skyrocketing price of oil and record-breaking gasoline prices instigated in part by another international crisis, the Trudeau government is again pressing ahead with a carbon tax increase on April 1st. The new price will be $50 per ton of carbon emitted, a 25 percent increase on the present number. Dan McTeague of Canadians for Affordable Energy, in a post written before the invasion of Ukraine, pointed out what this increase will mean for Canadians:

A fool and his tax dollars are soon parted.

Of course, Putin's war means that those increases will come from a higher baseline than they otherwise would have. And all in the service of hitting impossible emission reduction targets. As McTeague explains in a more recent post, the Trudeau government's stated goal is to cut Canadian carbon emissions by 40 percent over the next eight years, despite the fact that they've only succeeded in cutting them by 1 percent over the past fifteen years. And that was achieved via the low-hanging fruit of transitioning away from coal and towards natural gas.

Which is to say, at a perilous time for the world economy, Justin Trudeau and Co. are putting their ideological obsessions ahead of the welfare of regular Canadians.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, and the April foolishness continues.

Alberta to Trudeau: Don't Get Cocky

Alberta premier Jason Kenney has a good response to Justin Trudeau's recently announced Don't-Call-It-a-Coalition coalition government. After predicting that the New Democratic Party will “push Trudeau to attack oil and gas even harder and faster,” Kenney offered some reassuring words to Albertans, saying "Alberta’s got its economic mojo back and, whatever they do down east, we are on the economic rebound." He continued,

“If they get cocky about this and they attack our largest industry even harder they’ll hurt from it, too. You can’t pay for socialism without a growing economy and you don’t have a Canadian economy without oil and gas,” says Kenney. “If they want to pay for socialism, they’ve got to find the money somewhere and that somewhere is Alberta, that somewhere is the oil and gas industry. “If they kill the goose that lays the golden egg in Canada’s economy, they can’t pay for all their socialist schemes. “They need Alberta more than we need them.”

He's not wrong. The resource sector makes up a significant percentage of GDP, up to 10 percent by some measures. The agreement between the Liberals and the NDP includes some serious and expensive deliverables, such as a taxpayer-funded dental care plan that is projected to cost more than $4.3 billion in its first year alone. Their anti-oil and gas rhetoric notwithstanding, Trudeau and Singh are going to have to accept at some point that they can only take so many bites from the hand that feeds them before it strikes back.

'A Disgrace for Any Democracy'

It is likely that no one in the world has benefitted more from the war in Ukraine than Justin Trudeau. After all, the Russian invasion began on February 24th, at a time when Trudeau's tyrannical treatment of the peaceful (if rambunctious) Freedom Convoy protestors in Ottawa and their supporters throughout the country was the talk of the western world. Just a day prior, on the 23rd, Trudeau had revoked the Emergencies Act, the legislation which significantly increased his government's power to curtail civil liberties, reportedly because he was concerned that it wouldn't pass review by the Canadian senate.

The whole thing revealed Trudeau's inner tin-pot dictator, and his international standing was at a low ebb. And then Putin made his move and it all got lost in the shuffle. Justin got to go back to playing the smiling defender of "norms" against more butch tyrants like Big Bad Vlad.

But this episode hasn't been entirely forgotten. On Wednesday, Trudeau delivered an banality-filled address to the European Parliament in Brussels. But while enumerating specific threats to democracy, he foolishly mentioned the Freedom Convoy protest in his homeland. That was where he came a cropper. According to Duane Rolheiser:

Croatian M.E.P. Mislav Kolakusic responded by calling out Trudeau for violating the civil rights of Canadians participating in the Freedom Convoy protests. In a blistering speech to fellow EU Parliamentarians, Kolakusic turned to Trudeau and called his actions in crushing the Ottawa protest “dictatorship of the worst kind.” Trudeau sat quietly and listened as the MP from Croatia informed him many Europeans watched as he “trampled women with horses,” and blocked “the bank accounts of single parents.”

And that wasn't all. German M.E.P. Christine Anderson condemned the prime minister's "persecuting and criminalizing his own citizens as terrorists" and insisted that he "should not be allowed to speak in this house at all." She ended by addressing him directly, saying "Mr. Trudeau, you are a disgrace for any democracy. Please spare us your presence."

Further, Rolheiser points out that Romanian M.E.P. Cristian Terheș had boycotted the day's proceedings specifically because of Trudeau's presence, but had given him a sound lashing on social media anyway, saying:

You can’t come to teach Putin’s democracy lessons from the European Parliament, when you pass with horse hoofs over your own citizens who demand that their fundamental rights be respected. The difference between democracy and tyranny is not given by the geographical location of political leaders, but by the values that this promotes.... Between the Russian imperialist tyranny, promoted by Putin, and the neo-Marxist tyranny claimed to be progressive promoted also by Trudeau, in which people are deprived of their rights and freedoms, becoming the objects of the state, I do not choose any. I choose, instead, to promote and fight for the same conservative values that brought peace through prosperity in Europe: national sovereignty, individual freedom and respect for human rights, which are a gift I received from [God] because we are created in His image and likeness.

Hear, hear! It is nice to see that Trudeau hasn't successfully memory-holed his treatment of the truckers and their supporters. And, what's more, he spends so much time away from his own parliament these days, it is nice to see him get told off to his face.